University of Derby renews pledge to support armed forces personnel

10 February 2020

The University of Derby has confirmed its commitment to support the UK’s military personnel, veterans and their families by re-signing the Armed Forces Covenant.

Dr Paula Holt, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the College of Health and Social Care, and herself an army veteran, re-signed the Covenant on behalf of the University of Derby at a ceremony in Leicester alongside other Midlands Universities.

Since signing the Covenant for the first time in 2017, the University has held Armed Forces Days and similar celebration events at its Kedleston Road and Chesterfield campus sites.

The University has worked closely with a range of organisations, including the military support charities and agencies SSAFA and Stand To, while students have also volunteered their time to help raise funds to assist their work.

The University has also embarked on a research project, commissioned by Derbyshire County Council, to identify the ‘Hidden Veteran Community’. This aims to identify where veterans are across Derbyshire and whether their needs are being met by services such as health, housing and education.

Dr Holt said: “We are honoured to be reaffirming our support for armed forces personnel, both current servicemen and women and veterans, as well as their families. It is a mark of our gratitude for the sacrifice each of the them makes.

“We have demonstrated that support by welcoming members of all forces to our campus sites, as well as working alongside organisations committed to helping them to deal with a range of issues.

“Our expertise, both in health and social care, and across the entire University, is also contributing to a greater awareness of how we can support those who have served in our Armed Forces, carrying out research, as well as providing support and access to training and higher education opportunities.”

Find out more about the University of Derby and the Armed Forces Covenant.

Derby was among nine Midlands universities who attended the event at the University of Leicester.

The event also marked the achievement of 500 Armed Forces Covenant signatories in the region by East Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (East Midlands RFCA).

The ceremony was attended by Chief of Defence People (CDP), Lieutenant General Richard Nugee CB CVO CBE, who commented: “I am delighted to see these institutions from the East Midlands higher education sector reaffirming their Armed Forces Covenant commitments.”                       

Some further specific pledges in the Covenant include appointing an Armed Forces Champion, registering with the Career Transition Partnership to establish a specific pathway to employment for service leavers, providing work placement opportunities and supporting the accreditation of military training. 

The support will extend to helping service spouses and partners to find jobs, through initiatives such as registering with the Forces Families Jobs Employment platform.

There are also currently over 250 Officer Cadet Students in the Officer Training Corps across the East Midlands universities, and this will continue to be supported.

John Wilson OBE DL, Director of Employer Engagement at East Midlands RFCA, added: “We are really thrilled to have this significant group re-signing take place, demonstrating the friendly and supportive dialogue between all the East Midlands universities. 

“The Armed Forces Covenant is there to ensure that Armed Forces personnel are not disadvantaged by the commitment they make to their defence careers, and respected bodies like the universities can lead by example and best practice.”

Dr Paula Holt signing the Armed Forces Covenant with Lt Gen Richard Nugee
Dr Paula Holt, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the College of Health and Social Care (right), re-signs the Covenant on behalf of the University of Derby with Lt Gen Richard Nugee CB CVO CB (left).

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